Welcome to GHoPA – Getting Hooked on Positive Activities in North Lincs. All our clients are lovely and engage well, but GHoPA act very swiftly! We also have another Surrey based voluntary network group coming aboard shortly.
I wrote to The Minister of Civil Society yesterday, Mr Nick Hurd. I met Mr Hurd a few months ago at an awards event I spoke at (we were one of the winners) and he told me Groop was just what he needed. I had just spoken about the swathes of youth clubs shutting down across the country and this resonated with him. I never heard from him and I have tried to pursue this, believe me. However yesterday I was prompted again as I heard that Wiltshire youth services is closing down with the loss of 140 jobs and 24 youth centres – every one of them I have worked with at some point in my role before Groop. We are contracted with Wiltshire to provide support to the voluntary sector with 100 licences, but can the voluntary sector really fill the shoes of the very specific and specialist work the trained youth workers provide? In some cases, yes, but in others, no. Youth and specialist services have provided a very specific form of support to young people that is hard to find elsewhere. Community support is fabulous – but not the only answer. Some young people need more than community volunteers or helpers can give.
I hope Mr Hurd replies and we can sit down and discuss how Groop can help grow some elements of support for clubs, in partnership with our voluntary sector network partners and the specialist help they can provide.